CEO Best Practices IT Best Practices

So, Who Is The Cyber Risk Stakeholder at the Executive Level?

“With great power lies great responsibility.”

Even in the smallest of businesses, there is a certain hierarchy of power. And, despite what could potentially go wrong at each level, either by a team or an individual, the question is, who should take the blame?

Ultimately, there can be a lot of things a CEO already has to take responsibility for, even if something which occurred wasn’t technically their “fault.” While it may feel good for a CEO to point fingers at his or her employees, that would be doing him or herself a huge disservice. And, at the end of the day, it doesn’t fix the problem.

The only thing you need to be responsible for when it comes to your network’s security?

Finding someone else to take the responsibility.

If you utilize the services of a CIO or another outsourced cyber security professional, he or she will become the cyber risk stakeholder at the executive level. This way, you can do what you do best for your business, while this person takes care of the rest.

Wouldn’t it be nice to put such a serious responsibility into the hands of an expert?

When Common, Not-So-Serious Cyber Threats Come Through

Cyber threats nowadays can happen at any moment. We’re talking everything from entire system shutdowns to unexpected data breaches. While certain problems are more likely to happen at a small business than opposed to a larger business, if you’re business is onto something good, then hackers may be onto you, too.

And, if you’re a small business, you most likely have an IT guy or an IT team helping you to avoid these cyber threats. Though sometimes, the occasional virus will get in or someone may accidentally delete important files.

Like any employee, IT people put in a lot of time and effort into making things go right. However, their role is a little bit different than that of an outsourced CIO. While IT may be around to fix things up in the office, they aren’t the ones that should be taking care of your network’s entire security and compliance plan. It’s essential that situations in terms of security are unbiased and thus taken outside of the office.

This is why you call an outsourced CIO, who is an expert in risk management and cyber security. This way, if a serious problem does occur, they will be in charge and held fully accountable; not the IT guy, not you, and most importantly, not your company.

When a Serious Cyber Threat Succeeds in Breaching Your System

Hackers work in all different ways, as do hacks and the way they affect your business. Sometimes, a hack can really set a small business back. It can cost you a lot of time and money when it comes to making repairs.

These are bigger, more serious cyber threats which lead to complete data breaches and ransomware. Sometimes, they can’t be solved, and the damage has been embedded way too deep to even try. In these cases, it’s less likely a CEO is going to be empathetic to their IT team, or design team, or content team, or whatever team it was that was ultimately the one to “click the big red button.” It may cause a lot of frustration. But, it happens.

Thankfully, when and if these problems do occur, if you’ve made the right choice about utilizing the services of an outsourced CIO, they, as the cyber risk stakeholder, must take the blame. That’s their job. They’ll handle the audits, the lawyers, the victims, the repair plan, while you go about business as usual.

CIOs Take a Lot of Stress Away from CEOs

With start-ups or small businesses, there is a lot of “figuring out” that a company needs to do together. Problems will come along that no one could have predicted. But, when a CIO is responsible for anything serious that may happen, it takes away a lot of potential stress and finger pointing that could happen if you were the one meant to take the responsibility.

Why worry about something else when you already have enough to worry about? An outsourced CIO is an expert in what they do. Leave it to them.

IT Best Practices Security Best Practices

The Risks of Free Public WiFi and How To Stay Protected During Travel

So, you’re traveling for business and you’re going to have to do work whenever you get the chance. You’re thinking you’ll find tons of trendy cafes, airport waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, and who knows what else…maybe even food courts and mall restaurants, to do your work at.

As you already probably know, connecting to public WiFi networks is a risk for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you work for a big or small company, or if you’re just surfing online for your own personal business. Someone who wants to get in will do it, and it won’t be hard for them to do so. But, when we see that there is a free network for us to connect to, we get excited. Free?! How great.

Well, not exactly.

Why would you make it easier for hackers to get to you?

Putting a little money into making sure your network is safe and secure while you travel is certainly worth it. But, we also understand that you want to save where you can.

So, here are some alternatives to that public WiFi.

To Avoid Sensitive Info Getting Stolen, Get a VPN

Connecting to a free public WiFi network makes it easier for someone to take your sensitive info without you even knowing it. You could be going to make a transaction or be collecting information from a customer when someone can just slip right in there.

However, this can be solved by getting a VPN, which makes it safe to do transactions over a public network. So, if there is no way to avoid using the free network at the airport or a hotel, then this is the route you want to take.

A solid VPN shouldn’t set you back too much. You can find some VPN services as low as $4 a month. Take a look at for more information on the best VPN choices out there.

To Stay Safe, Stick to One Device

One way to be more susceptible to hackers is by using a mobile device. While it’s tempting during travel to use tablets, phones, and anything else that’s essentially “mobile,” this can put you at risk. For one, setting up security systems on a phone is definitely more of a puzzle than doing so on a computer. Second, it’s a lot harder to tell with a mobile device if you’ve been hacked or not.

To stay safe while you’re traveling, do yourself a favor and stick to just one device. Sure, you might bring your phone and tablet along for the trip. But, if you’re going to be doing any work or personal stuff, then keep it all to your computer or another device that’s already secured for these kinds of connections.

Watch Where You Plug in Your Devices, and Carry Your Own “Outlets”

Have you ever noticed at airports or malls that there are charging stations? What about USB outlets in a rental car? While this may not be quite the same as a free public WiFi network, it’s similar in that it’s something convenient that can present huge consequences. Of course, not everything is a risk, but it’s nice to be aware of these things.

If you really need to charge your device, consider getting your own power bank, or charge up in safer places.

Substitute Free Public WiFi Networks for Your Own Hotspot

Nothing is ever 100% safe, especially when it comes to protecting your sensitive information. Even when you have to “pay” to use a public network (like buying a cookie at a cafe to get the password) there are still no guarantees. There are also no guarantees that the WiFi you connect to will be strong enough to allow you to conduct business.

So, to fix all of those potential problems, consider bringing your own secure connection. Nowadays, it’s easy to find personal hotspots at mobile carrier stores that cater to your needs. You can also use your own phone as a hotspot, but like always, make sure it’s secure.

Do you need some cyber security tips for upcoming work travel? Smeester & Associates can help you get all the information you need.